The 23-year-old woman who brought the Delta strain of coronavirus from Melbourne to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast broke lockdown protocols when she gave in to peer pressure to go out with friends, it has been revealed.
The Mareeba woman, who flew to Melbourne to visit friends before returning to the Sunshine Coast, was considered a close contact after visiting a high-risk exposure site in the Victorian capital on July 13.
The double-vaccinated medical student received the notice from the state health department on July 15 and was tested but did not wait for her result.
Instead, she agreed to go out with friends on the Sunshine Coast after initially returning a negative result.
In accordance with national protocol, the 23-year-old would have to be isolated for 14 days, regardless of her outcome, after being in a high-risk place.
The 23-year-old woman infected with the highly contagious Delta strain broke the protocol of close contacts because she was under pressure from friends, instead dined out at the popular Vietnamese restaurant Rice Boi on the Sunshine Coast
Melbourne’s Young and Jackson pub (pictured) has been identified as a Tier One exposure site – it was visited by the infected woman on 10 July
The woman’s family says she has taken full responsibility for her actions as she crossed the border and visited multiple businesses, resulting in a number of sites now closed and locals anxiously awaiting test results.
She was closely contacted after visiting Melbourne’s famous Young and Jackson pub in the city’s CBD on July 10, before being notified on July 13.
She says that instead of isolating for the full 14 days, she was pressured by friends to go out, so they visited the popular Rice Boi restaurant in Mooloolaba twice in one day on July 15, Queensland health officials confirmed.
The woman then made her way to her hometown of Mareeba in Far North Queensland on July 16, following a negative test result, but soon began to develop symptoms and received a positive result on July 18.
The woman’s family took to social media to defend the 23-year-old, saying she “posed absolutely no risk to the local community,” despite being contagious with the Delta tribe.
“The woman who tested positive for COVID has been in isolation at home since her arrival on Friday night, but was taken to Brisbane hospital late yesterday by private plane, along with another positive case from Hotel Quarantine in Cairns,” her brother wrote in a Facebook post.
“All household contacts and family (here and in the Sunshine Coast) had a negative result early yesterday morning and are now in isolation (for 14 days) and pose absolutely no risk to the local community.”
Her brother and mother are now in isolation and initially tested negative, but admitted they were “in the community” before the young woman tested positive.
The mother had been to both the local flights and the Mareeba Leagues Club the Saturday before.
The woman then made her way to her hometown of Mareeba (pictured) in Far North Queensland on July 16, following a negative test result, but soon began to develop symptoms and received a positive result on July 18.
According to the courier post, the woman returned home for the school holidays and took an Uber, a bus and the Airtrain.
She then flew from Brisbane to Cairns, where a relative picked her up from the airport.
Following news of the infected woman flying in from an identified Melbourne hotspot, the response was brutal on social media.
Dozens of people labeled the student “selfish” on a local Facebook community page, with one person asking, “How hard is it to stay around you?”
A third said she felt “vulnerable” because she is older.
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the woman should have been in self-isolation for 14 days after receiving the text message from the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria on 15 July.
Anyone who has visited a location that is considered a ‘Tier One’ exposure site in Victoria must self-isolate – even if the Covid test turns out to be negative.
The spokeswoman also said relatives and friends of the woman are now considered close contacts and should isolate themselves until they receive their result.
The woman, who was transferred to a hospital in Brisbane on Monday, was fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
She is also adamant that she wore masks when traveling on public transport, but Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young admitted she was concerned that the virus would still spread in the community.